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Nike raises its retail game


Nike has seen the future of retail — and it’s immersive and digitally connected.

The athletic giant has opened a five-level, multi-sport category outpost in New York City’s SoHo neighborhood that pushes the envelope of sports retailing.

Designed to deliver the best of Nike products, personalized services and experiences under one roof, the 55,000-sq.-ft. store is an immersive experience that envelops the customer and offers a link between Nike’s digital and physical platforms. Visitors can do anything from taking a virtual run in Central Park to shooting hoops surrounded by the digitally rendered sights of the city’s iconic basketball courts.

Throughout the store, Nike “store athletes” stand ready to assist and guide shoppers and lend expert advice.

“With Nike SoHo, we can realize the promise of personalized performance,” said Heidi O’Neill, Nike’s president of global direct to consumer. “Powered by immersive digital trials and in-store experts, this store is about elevating every athlete’s potential.”

Nike SoHo is designed as a personal sport experience. The offerings run the gamut with a dedicated service space for customers to consult Nike experts, a personalization studio, a women’s boutique with personal styling services and enhanced fitting rooms with adaptive lighting that customers can adjust. A community space, The Stands, includes a seating area for in-store programming. An enormous footwear wall — 54 ft. wide — is Nike’s largest to date.

Nike SoHo has a sleek, modern look, enhanced by state-of-the art video and touchscreens that serve up a wealth of content, including community, store and company news, product launches and more. It offers several benefits connected to the brand’s app, Nike+, including 30-day product trials and the ability to book one-on-one appointments.

Here are some of the store’s highlights:

Basketball Trial Zone

Customers can shoot hoops, test basketball shoes and do custom drills in this half-court space, which boasts 23-ft. ceilings and an adjustable hoop. Five sensors guide players as they go through up to six custom drills in front of oversized high-definition video screens that provide real-time on-screen tracking on the trial. The screens immerse players in New York City’s famous street basketball courts.

Running Trial Zone

Housed on different floors for men and women, this space allows customers to test out shoes on a treadmill, surrounded by two cameras capturing data from their run. Video screens allow for a three-sided immersive experience that takes customers on a 90-second run through Central Park or Battery Park. Each customer’s experience can be saved to his or her Nike+ member profile.

Soccer Trial Zone

Customers can try out Nike’s soccer cleats in this 400-sq.-ft. cleat trial area that is encased in glass walls, and features a synthetic turf field.

Nike By NYC Personalization Studio

This on-site space allows customers to engrave and print iconic NYC symbols on products, with the customer notified via text when it’s ready. Swooshes, heel back tabs, shoe tongues, etc., can all be personalized with the in-store laser machines.

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